As Americans pursue more education, they also accrue more debt. Outstanding student loan balances in the United States total roughly $1 trillion (Federal Reserve Bank of New York 2013). While other types of debt, including credit card and mortgage debt, fell in the aftermath of the Great Recession, student loan debt increased sharply—the result of more people taking out student loans and of people borrowing more money. In 1989, student loans were a relatively small component of the debt held by 29–37-year-olds; by 2010, they were second only to mortgage debt (figure 1).
Caroline Ratcliffe and Signe-Mary McKernan. The original article appeared on the Urban Instute. To read the full article, click here.